Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pennsy's 12th Street Junction = C&NW Taylor Street plus B&OCT Rockwell Street

What Pennsy called 12th Street was really B&OCT Rockwell Street where the B&OCT crossed both C&NW and Pennsy/Panhandle/Chicago & Great Eastern (C&GE) and C&NW Taylor Street where the C&NW and C&GE crossed each other to switch sides in the corridor.

The B&OCT Rockwell Street junction was important when passenger trains were still running because both the Wisconsin Central and the Chicago Great Western used this B&OCT route to access Grand Central Station. WC built the route with Northern Pacific's funding because NP wanted to use the WC to access the Chicago market. (By the time this route was built, Chicago was forcing new railroads to share a route into the city to reduce the city being cut up by railroads. NP had to buy and tear down a lot of buildings to build this route.) But the NP went bankrupt in the panic of 1893, and B&O bought a lot of NP's Chicago assets and created the B&OCT to own those assets. This route is now abandoned because 1) CGW no longer exists, 2) no passenger trains are running and Grand Central Station was quickly torn down to be a vacant lot to this day, 3) the city condemned some of the bridges between BRC and downtown, and 4) CN bought EJ&E as well as SOO/WC and uses the EJ&E rather than run trains past people's homes in Forest Park. (But the Forest Park people might be in for a surprise because CREATE B1 includes a crossover between IHB and CN tracks that would again allow CN to run trains through Forest Park to the BRC connection. I see that CREATE has given up trying to maintain a project status map. So I don't know if B1 is done yet.)

Image from RailFanGuides
1938 Aerial Photo form ILHAP

Dave Durham posted
Dennis DeBruler South of Fillmore Street and west of Rockwell down where the B&OCT/C&NP crossed the north/south tracks was a tower in the northwest quadrant. It was an example of each railroad having a different name for this area. See for the name details.

C&NP is Chicago & Northern Pacific and indicates this map is old enough that it has not yet gone bankrupt. B&O bought C&NP's Chicago assets to form B&OCT, including Grand Central Station.

Today, UP comes south through here to their Globlal 1 intermodal yard, CSX comes north to access that C&NP track to the west to their out-of-service Altenheim Subdivision, and NS goes north here for local industry switching. (Although the industries are disappearing as the neighborhood gentrifies.)

[See Western Ave. Junction for a discussion of the south side of this map.]

Bob Lalich Flickr
This photo shows the multiple crossings of the CTT/B&OCT, CNW and PRR Panhandle near 14th and Rockwell shortly after the railroads were elevated. Note what appears to be an interlocking tower on the left and a signal bridge in the distance. I thought these crossings had always been non-interlocked and the connections were manned by switchtenders on the CNW and B&OCT but this photo may indicate otherwise. At the time of the photo, passenger trains were running on this part of the Panhandle using the north end of the old Union Station.
John Uhlich commented on a posting:
My memory of the Pan Handle is coming back...been years since I even thought of this: when headed for the Penn Central's 47th St. (?) Yard from Rockwell Sub., we would stop at Taylor St. 47th St. yard is now a CSX intermodal yard and has been for many years. When we got the highball, we had to have a highball from both Taylor St. and the B&O switch tenders. B&O switch tender was only a couple of hundred yards at most further south from Taylor St. B&O switch tender had a different colored light or flag (daylight) and depending on what road you were, you needed the correct color light or flag to proceed. I seem to recall If you were coming off CNW you got a white light or flag, if coming off B.O.C.T. you needed a green light, and if you were coming off Pan Handle you got a yellow light or flag. B&O switch tender lined us up for the Pan Handle. The Pan Handle tracks were on the west side of the elevated RR combined right of way for the CJ, CSX (B.O.C.T.) and then the Pan Handle. Once we got down to 47th St. (?) interlocking, the B&O tower operator would line train up to cross the B.O.C.T. mainline tracks and into the Penn Central yard. I recall there was a large malt house at the very north end of the yard but it closed years ago and was probably demolished.
Dennis DeBruler I had to do some head scratching to determine that what C&NW called Taylor Street was called 12th Street by Pennsy and some other maps I have seen. At one time it certainly was a very complicated junction:
Dennis DeBruler Now it is greatly simplified:,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

Bob Lalich Flickr, Mar 1987
John Uhlich That's the place! That rusty rail is where the Pan Handle was...
John Uhlich That abandoned brown brick factory building tot he left and the smokestack have been long was redeveloped years ago. Sat vacant for a long time before it was redeveloped. Can't remember what type of factory it was....the first time I rode down Rockwell Sub back in 1974 at night it seemed like a long, dark tunnel lined with abandoned brick by one they were all demolished. Including the National Guard Armory on Madison St.
John Uhlich Dennis DeBruler That control tower you see in distance is right where the old B&O switch tender's shanty would have been. Incredible photograph! Where the heck do they get such old photos?
John Uhlich Dennis DeBruler That factory to the right of about 4 or 5 stories appears to be involved in manufacturing windmills and railroad equipment. Later the Wheeling Company made corrugated cans and barrels there. I am sure anyone over age of 60 remembers the old Wheeling brand trash cans before the advent of plastic garbage cans. That building was torn down many years ago.
Bob Lalich After constructing the SC&S in the late 1880s, most of the Panhandle passenger trains used the SC&S between Bernice Jct and Colehour Jct, then the Ft Wayne line to reach the south end of Union Station. I believe any remaining secondary passenger trains using the original Panhandle line into the north end of Union Station were gone by the 1920s.

Dennis DeBruler commented on John's posting
Dennis DeBruler From the 1916 map in the Files section, I highlighted the Bernice Cutoff in Yellow. The PFW&C was the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad. It was part of Pennsy's mainline between Chicago and NYC. The PCC&StL was the Panhandle that we have been discussing. Note that the Panhandle had a lot of grade crossings with railroads as well as roads. The PFW&C had a grade crossing with just the Rock Island at Englewood. NS got the Pennsy tracks at Englewood and Metra got the RI tracks. That grade crossing was recently removed by the CREATE P1 project that raised Metra over NS:

I don't have time to pursue this information, but I think it is relevant to this area:

Bob Lalich I photographed the Soo transfer to Barr several times in the 1980s. Here is one occasion at Rockwell St. Not the best photo but a very interesting location - at least it is to me.    (source)

John Uhlich's posting and the comments.

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